Long ago when the University of Massachusetts Press signed Stuart Weisberg to write Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, neither side could have guessed the prominence he would have now as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. That's a mixed blessing. His higher profile is good for sales but there's no escaping the fact that this is the summary of a football game written in the 3rd quarter.
Despite the years of research and more than 150 interviews including Frank himself, the book has no chance of becoming the definitive biography because the crucial part of his career is still unfolding. And from the early reports, maybe it's just as well that this won't be the lasting portrait of America's most important gay politician. According to Carlos Santoscoy in On Top Magazine, "An 11 year relationship with Herb
Moses gets little more than a footnote, and his current boyfriend,
Jim Ready, is mentioned only once in passing." In fact, Moses and Sergio Pombo after him, do get a middling amount of attention, with some decent quotes, but far, far more time is spent on Steve Gobie and the scandal about the escort ring he ran from Frank's apartment. What does this imbalance tell readers about gay life? Weisberg can't claim space limitations prevented him from providing a more meaningful view of Frank's longterm relationships; his biography is nearly 600 pages.
Those of you seeking an in-depth study of a fascinating and very, very funny political creature midcareer should buy it. Cokie Roberts and Nancy Pelosi blurbed it nicely. Anyone looking for full insights into the private man might want to wait. So far the biggest news from the bio is that Frank wants a cabinet position. Hope he gets it.